Sun Tea

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We’ve already had some hot weather this spring, so I was inspired to find a big glass jar and start brewing some sun tea. It’s a lovely process to watch as you’re working in the garden, and a delicious reward over ice when you stop to wipe your brow and sit in the shade. Sun tea has a mellower flavor than hot-brewed tea. You can adjust the amount of tea for strength, caffeine, flavor.

Listen: Bring the music out to the garden. Your plants and birds will love it while the tea brews and you weed, clip, and till. The album for the job is John Prine’s 1999 In Spite of Ourselves. Every track is Prine and a country or folk/alt woman such as Iris DeMent, Lucinda Williams, and Emmylou, singing a quirky duet.

Sip: Your sun tea of choice, of course.

I found a big, old-fashioned, gallon-sized Ball canning jar at my favorite local nursery, City Farmers. They stock a plethora of items that take me back to my parents’ decision to buy a small farm and produce our own food back in the 1970s, and thus our lucky lifestyle as kids. My mom learned from older neighbors who had farmed for years, read a lot, and figured out how to grow, can, freeze, pickle, juice, and jam just about everything we needed for the winter months. My dad built a giant pantry-cupboard in our basement in Oregon which she stocked with the canned goods. An extra freezer in the garage was also full by the end of summer. Enjoy a little exploration around your own area to find a large, glass container with a secure lid.

Fill the container with tap or filtered water, cold or room temperature. For one gallon of tea, I’ve been using loose leaf tea packed into a mesh tea ball–about four tablespoons. My tea of choice is Peet’s Black Currant. You could also use four-five tea bags. Set the jar in full sun four to five hours and watch the beautiful amber color fill the glass. This could be an excellent exercise in meditation! Pour the tea over ice in a tall glass. I like it straight, but you could add a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint to give your palate a little fillip. Cheers.

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